Rafa Benitez Rejected Real Madrid In 2009, Chose To Remain With Liverpool

Rafa Benitez delayed his dream six years ago out of loyalty to Liverpool.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said Saturday he offered Benitez the chance to coach the Spanish giant in 2009, but the then Liverpool manager declined to leave the Premier League club.

“I thought of him in 2009 and offered him the job,” Perez said, according to the Liverpool Echo. “The circumstances didn’t allow it because he had renewed with Liverpool and couldn’t leave them. Benitez is Spanish, a Madridista.”

Liverpool was coming off a season in which Benitez had guided it to a second-place finish when Real Madrid came calling. Armed with a contract extension, Benitez said “no” to Perez and would remain at Anfield for one more season.

Liverpool fired Benitez following the 2009-10 season, and his managerial career took him back and forth from England to Italy — with stints at Inter Milan, Chelsea and Napoli — over the next six years.

Benitez finally landed his dream job this summer when he replaced Carlo Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s hot seat. Benitez is just two games into his tenure as Real Madrid’s head coach, but Perez already thinks he’s the right man for the job.

“Rafa Benitez is the best for Madrid at this time,” Perez said. “He knows the culture, the values, and is from this house.”

Sometimes things work out the way we want them to … eventually.

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@MirrorFootball

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